Sgt. Heller of Prototype 2: A More Likeable Character
When Prototype first debuted in 2009, “protagonist” Alex Mercer wasn’t exactly the most likeable guy on the block. In fact, he wasn’t likeable at all. With the expression of a constipated bull (and a temper to match), Mercer seemed to be a one-dimensional character that wanted to shove everyone to the curb. Or destroy everything that had four wheels. Or a chopper blade.
Radical Entertainment is aiming to create a more likeable character in Prototype 2, and according to Design Director Matt Armstrong, James Heller has a leg up on Mercer with a dry sense of humor.
“One of the things that I’ve been most happy about in the game has been Heller’s dry sense of humor,” said Armstrong in an interview with Destructoid. “Humor in games is a very difficult thing to pull off successfully, but our writers have done a really impressive job of simply allowing it to flow out of certain situations and interactions without forcing it. This has gone a long way to making Heller a really engaging and relatable character.
“Heller’s a character who’s actually become more and more interesting over the course of development as we’ve got to know him better. Revenge is definitely his defining motivation at the start of the game and his character is strongly driven towards that goal, but there’s a greater subtlety and complexity that starts to emerge as you progress deeper into the game.”
Even more interesting besides Heller’s sense of humor and likeability is Radical’s decision to turn Alex Mercer into the main antagonist. Besides the military searching for Heller and all the cover ups involving the Blacklight Virus, we’re now up against the very man that we played in the original Prototype title. It certainly sheds a new light on the situation, seeing as how Mercer can kick helicopters out of the sky and shear through tanks like a hot knife through butter.
“The decision [to make Mercer the bad guy] came out of one of our early design meetings,” said Armstrong. “We were just throwing out ideas about where we could take the sequel after the events of the first Prototype when one of the guys said, ‘You know what? We should just kill Mercer.’”
Bless that team member. That idea went on to create this interesting twist that eventually became the skeleton to Prototype 2‘s plot.
“The room was suddenly bursting with energy, excitement, and debate around the idea and that made me realize that we had the seeds of something really special,” Armstrong continued. “In the end, the premise was just too exciting to pass up.
“This decision also allowed us to execute on the idea that the Blacklight Virus is the true star of the series. Part of the appeal of the Prototype universe is the fact that it allows us to go anywhere in the world, release the virus onto a completely different person, have it express its effects in a completely new way and experience how this new protagonist uses these abilities to achieve their own goals and desires.”
It most certainly adds an interesting dimension to the previous plot. So how will players react to James Heller’s personality? We’ll just have to wait for the game to release.
Prototype 2 is scheduled to release on April 24th for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.